India’s import of crude oil driven by national interests: Foreign Secretary Vinay

With the upcoming G7 summit set to discuss cutting dependency on Russian fossil fuels, India on Friday said its sourcing of crude oil is totally driven by its national interests and that its position on the issue is “very well understood” by various countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is attending the annual summit of the G7 club of wealthy nations to be held in Alpine castle of Schloss Elmau in southern Germany on June 26 and 27.

Slashing of Europe’s dependency on Russian energy sources in view of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine is likely to be discussed at the summit.

US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among the top leaders attending the G7 summit.

“Whatever the trading arrangements that India puts in place with regard to the purchase of crude oil all over the world are determined purely from the consideration of energy security of India and there is no other consideration,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said.

He was responding to a question on whether India would be under pressure from the G7 countries to restrict its procurement of crude oil from Russia.

“I think that consideration is very well understood. I would even say appreciated across the countries. I do not see any point of assuming any pressure on that issue. India has continued its oil trade and purchases from wherever we need to do it,” he said.

India’s crude oil imports from Russia have jumped over 50 times since April and now make up for 10 per cent of all crude bought from overseas, a senior government official said on Thursday.

Russian oil made up for just 0.2 per cent of all oil imported by India prior to the Ukraine war.

Kwatra said India’s crude oil import is purely determined, governed and motivated by India’s energy security considerations, noting that it is one of the key aspects in terms of the country’s national economic interests.

The Western countries are gradually bringing down their energy purchases from Russia following its attack on Ukraine.

Asked about the growing food crisis arising out of the Ukraine crisis, Kwatra said India has taken a very “proactive” stance to ensure food security of the vulnerable countries.

Ukraine is a major producer of wheat and the halt in its exports of the staple food has triggered its shortage.

“I think the Russia-Ukraine situation has generated a certain amount of food security crisis all over the world and as a responsible nation, India has taken a very and proactive stance to ensure that the food security of the vulnerable countries are addressed in a manner that their needs are addressed,” he said.

At the same time, he emphasised on India’s approach that the food security within the country is absolutely not at all impacted.

“I think, there has been a widespread appreciation of the manner in which India has taken forward this position,” Kwatra said.

On the crisis in Ukraine, he said India’s position has always been very clear as it has been asking for cessation of hostilities right from the beginning of the conflict and clearly said that the path to the resolution of the problem is through diplomacy and dialogue.

The G7 comprises the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.

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